Teaching Children How to Call 911

Children who know how to call 911 in an emergency could save a life. Teach your child how to call 911 and tell dispatchers the location of the emergency.

It's best to call 911 from a landline, but if one isn't available, your child should know how to call from your mobile phone. Here are step-by-step instructions for teaching your child how to call 911.

  1. Make sure your child can say her first and last name and provide her address or location.

    Some 911 centers don't have the ability to automatically locate a caller. Thus, it's important to teach your child to identify a location by buildings, signs or other landmarks.

    Tip: Making up a rhyme or song can help make it fun and easy to remember a name and home address.

  2. Explain the different emergency situations that might require your child to call 911.

    Here are some examples:

    • Fire
    • Medical emergency
    • Car accident
    • Stranger danger

    Please ensure that your child understands that 911 should only be called if there's an actual emergency. It should never be called for practice, as a joke or for any other non-emergency reason. Doing so could prevent 911 dispatchers from quickly responding to someone in a real emergency situation.

  3. Show your child the steps for calling 911 on your mobile phone.

    If you have a security lock on your phone's Home screen, teach your child how to unlock it. For a step-by-step visual walkthrough on calling 911, we offer a Teach Your Children to Call 911 Simulator for our newer phones. Select your phone from the Simulator Index list, and check the Phone Calls section to see if instructions are available for your phone.

  4. Go over your mobile phone's keypad several times to help your child become familiar with making a call.

    Have your child practice making a phone call from your mobile phone by calling a family member or friend. Remember not to actually call 911 with your child, unless it's an emergency.

  5. Practice, practice, practice.

    The more repetition you can provide, the easier it will be for your child to recall the steps, even in a stressful emergency situation.

  6. Do not let your children play with old mobile phones.

    Because old mobile phones are still able to call 9-1-1 even if they are not active with a wireless carrier, they should not be used as a toy. 
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